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New Delhi : The Central Silk Board (CSB) under the Ministry of Textiles and the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on March 7, 2021, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a convergence model for implementation of Agro-forestry in the silk sector under the ongoing Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme, in the presence of Union Textiles and Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Zubin Irani and Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Parshottam Rupala here.

The MoU was signed by Dr Alka Bhargava, Additional Secretary, DAC&FW, and Rajit Ranjan Okhandiar, Member Secretary (Central Silk Board), Ministry of Textiles.  The MoU aims to incentivise the farmers to take up sericulture based Agroforestry models thereby contributing to Make in India and Make for the World vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This linkage will add another dimension to agroforestry for faster returns to the growers as well as support the production of the range of silks that India is famous for.

The Central Silk Board (CSB), Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India, will act as a catalyst to promote Agroforestry in the silk sector. The Buniyaad Reeling Machine for Tussar Silk Yarn were also distributed to some of the beneficiaries on the occasion. The beneficiaries also shared their experiences virtually from across the country, according to a PIB release.

Speaking on the occasion, Smriti Zubin Irani said that India will be fully Atmanirbhar in Silk production in the next two years. She said that raw silk production in the country has increased 35% in the last six years. The Minister informed that more than 90 lakh people have got employment in raw silk production.

Addressing  the ‘National level programme on convergence of Agro-Sericulture and eradication of Thigh reeling’ where the MoU was signed, Irani informed that 8,000 women thigh reelers were identified for providing Buniyaad machines and 5,000 women have already been supported under Silk Samagra Phase I. She said that for remaining 3,000 thigh reelers, fund provision has been made to eradicate unhygienic and obsolete Thigh Reeling Practice from the country.

Irani further stated that this MoU will increase the agricultural income from 20 to 30%. Referring to the PPE kits, in which India has become the second largest producer in the world, she said that India has the capability of creating history in Agro-Technical Textiles also. She said farmers’ income has almost increased to 60% by adopting Agro Technical Textile.

Speaking on the occasion, Parshottam Rupala said that the MoU will not only increase the income and production  of farmers but will also remove  the difficulties facing them. He suggested to link the farmers dealing in silk production with Farmers Produce Organisations (FPO)for increasing their earnings.

The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC & FW) is implementing the Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) since 2016-17 as part of the recommendation of the National Agroforestry Policy 2014. India was the first country to have such a comprehensive policy, which was launched at the World Agroforestry Congress held in Delhi in February 2014. At present, the scheme is being implemented in 20 States and 2 UTs.